On the day after he was inaugurated, President Biden signed an executive order requiring masks for everyone on all modes of public transportation and the CDC soon followed with updated rules that required everyone 2 or older to wear a mask. Before that, airlines like Delta offered exceptions for older children.
That mandate was supposed to expire on 9/13/21, but it was previously extended to 1/18/22.
And now it is being extended until March 18th. I’m actually surprised that the extension will just be for 2 months and not through the summer, but I fully expect that it will be extended further.
The FAA has received reports from airlines about thousands of passengers refusing to wear a mask this year. Many of those were removed from their flight and/or banned from flying the airline.
While most of the world’s transportation mask requirements exclude children under the age of 6 or 12, the US has by far the harshest rule, requiring toddlers from the age of 2 to mask up. I’ve written several time about how absurd it is to expect a toddler to keep a mask on and who you can contact about changing that.
The CDC mask order actually has no expiration date. A former Biden senior advisor for COVID response thinks we should never get rid of the mask mandate. Will that view win out? Will we see it removed before the November 2022 midterm elections in time to declare victory over COVID during a summer slowdown? Will the courts eventually strike down the transportation mask mandate?
With a family of 4 kids ranging from 1 to 10 years old, we have severely curtailed our family travel since February 2020. Our only family flight during the pandemic was a short 80 minute hop to Myrtle Beach. I was able to get our 3 year old to wear her mask during the boarding process, which is when nearly all mask incidents occur. We made sure that the kids ate and drank at the gate so that they would be able to keep their masks on until takeoff. She had a hard time keeping it on afterward, but we had plenty of snacks and made it back and forth without becoming a news story.